Archive | November, 2008

2 + 4 Feet running, or how a podcast saved my life

29 Nov

Back in April 2008, Dan from the 4FeetRunning Podcast started a ten in ten challenge among friends, in order to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks. At that time I weighed 96 kg (212 pounds) and was motivated by Dan to lose weight as well.

So, Dan from 4FeetRunning, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for putting that idea into my head!

At this moment, I’m weighing 79 kg (174 pounds), which means I have lost 38 pounds in 35 weeks, which is an extended version of 10 pounds in 10 weeks. I expect to weigh 63 kg (139 pounds) by the end of September 2009, in other words, to lose yet another 35 pounds in 44 weeks. This would give me a healthy body mass index (BMI) of 20.8.

Although Dan didn’t succeed in his attempt (he may still do it, though), he motivated me to change my lifestyle. I now eat less, yet healthier, and exercise more (I run 5 or 6 times a week). On the last Sunday of April of this year I had to push myself to run a 10 K distance in 54 minutes and a few seconds. Now I’m able to run the same distance in 44 minutes, with ease.

I have expressed my gratitude a few times to Nick and Dan, by commenting on their blog, and telling other people how wonderful their podcast is. Production quality-wise it is not the greatest podcast on earth, but both Nick and Dan are down to earth, and share their experience with us, the listener. They tell it like it is and don’t pretend. That is how podcasting should be. “Content is king,” as Rob Walch, podcaster of the first hour used to say in his Podcast411 podcast.

That is all.

Beware. Genius at work!

28 Nov

Beware, genius at work

So, if I’m a genius, why is it still so hard to push those pixels?

That is all.

A rose by any name…

28 Nov

Here’s something I made using The Gimp. I saved the intermediary files as Photoshop PSD files, so I could easily go back to an earlier step and use any drawing software that supports PSD to edit the files afterwards.

rose

I started with a blank image (here represented as a black background because of the way how Flickr works, but on the computer screen it was transparent) and drew a single petal on it, copied that layer and rearranged the layer copies…

rose-001rose-003

I changed the orientation of the petals, mirrored horizontally in the back and changed the width of the petals, to give a 3D effect…

rose-003rose-004

I made the petals in the back smaller, to strengthen the 3D effect, and pulled the petals together…

rose-005rose-006

I drew a stem and the sepals, each in their own layers, and added a single leaf…

rose-007rose-008

I copied the leaf, mirrored it, and translated it. Next, I began working on the background…

rose-009rose-010

Next, I rearranged the petals, by rotating and translating the layers. Then I made the background less soft and fluffy…

rose-011rose-012

Some final tweaks with the contrast of the two leafs, the stem and the single sepals layers and my rose was ready…

rose-013

That is all.

I has a crush on my kitty cat

28 Nov

Alright, now for some graphical stuff. I’m not really a good draftsman, but that shouldn’t stop me from drawing, should it? The problem is sometime file size. If you want to crush your files as small as they can be, you need a tool to do it for you.

Luckily on the Mac, there is a tool called PNGCrusher. It used to be PowerPC only (and therefore slow), but the author has released an Intel-only version, which is much faster. Let’s put it to the test.

kittycatkittycat_crush

On the left, is the original file, which is 27364 byte in file size, and on the right is the crushed file, 18851 bytes, which is around 70 percent of the original file size. Go PNGCrusher! And the file was converted almost instantaneously.

I has a crush on my kitty cat.

That is all.

I’m going to read Animal Farm and Ulysses

26 Nov

After reading Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, I’ve lent two new English-language books.

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Ulysses by James Joyce

Animal Farm is a short story, only 127 pages, but Ulysses is a whopping 1069 pages. I should plan the reading, but I only have three weeks before the lending period expires. Three weeks for almost 1200 pages is 57 pages per day.

That is all.